Since 2009 researchers Miriam Bernard and Michelle Rickett have been involved in a set of related projects under the title “Ages and Stages.” This is a collaboration with researchers at Keele University and theater specialists at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK, that examines the ways in which older people are involved in theatre and the impact that theatre has on their lives.
This report, one of several about the ongoing research, is a detailed case study of how participation by older people in the Victoria/New Victoria Theatre affected their lives.
The findings affirm “the continuing need to challenge stereotypes that the capacity for creativity and participation in later life are unavoidably and inevitably declining; show how participation in active and voluntary activities shapes meanings associated with key life transitions; and emphasize the positive role that theatre can play as a medium for inclusion of both older and younger people.”
Pam Schweitzer’s Reminiscence Theatre: Making Theatre from Memories is a guide to working with older adults to translate personal memories into interactive theatre. It draws on several decades of work in performance art, intergenerational projects, and methods for sharing memories and experiences between generations and cultures. Her primary message is the value of real life stories as the basis for theatre.The book includes Schweitzer’s observations about the benefits of participatory theatre, including overcoming social isolation, increasing self-confidence and building new relationships.
Teaching Artist are key to delivering creative aging programs. In this video, you will hear stories from older adult students about how their artmaking and learning experiences impact all aspects of their life.
In this blog post, Rosenberg talks in-depth about the Meet Me at MoMA program, an interactive gallery tour for people with dementia and their care partners, part of their Access Programs. The ninety-minute sessions allow MoMA’s educators to lead the individuals in the group in sharing their thoughts and interpretations of artworks from MoMA’s collection or special exhibitions.
In this blog post, Rosenberg introduces PrimeTime at MoMA, an outreach and programming initiative aimed to increase participation of New York City residents ages 65 and up. She also shares positive feedback from participants who attended the program, and who she knows personally through MoMA’s Access Programs.
From the blog post:
“MoMA’s commitment to access for all is embedded in the history of the institution itself, beginning with one of the Museum’s earliest innovations in art education: the establishment of the War Veterans Art Center for soldiers returning from the Second World War. It has been an honor and a pleasure to build upon this tradition in my work on Access Programs at MoMA for the last 20 years.”
“Who is Young@Heart? What started out in 1982 at a Western Massachusetts elderly housing project to joyfully pass the time instead of passing before your time has developed into the stereotype-defying, generation-crossing musical extravaganza better known as the Young@Heart Chorus.”
Creative Aging Focus:
Running for 30 years, Young@Heart Chorus epitomizes excellent creative aging programming, focusing on skill building and social engagement.
“Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) educates the imagination by offering innovative creative writing programs for people of all ages and by providing a variety of publications and resources to support learning through the literary arts. T&W programs include writing workshops for students, art programs for older adults, professional development for educators, managing the NYS Poetry Out Loud competition, and publishing Teachers & Writers Magazine and other resources about the teaching of creative writing.”
Creative Aging Focus:
A funded cohort member of Aroha Philanthropies Seeding Vitality Arts U.S., Teachers and Writers partnered with “Visions,” a NYC senior center for vision impaired older adults. Multiple workshop series successfully engaged senior center members in “songwriting,” musical theater and poetry.
“Founded by MacArthur Fellow Anne Basting, we are an international network of artists and caregivers committed to bringing joy to late life.”
Creative Aging Focus:
Timeslips advocates for and provides innovative programming in the arts for older adults with cognitive decline. They partner with senior service organizations to create and institutionalize creative aging programs for this specific population. They train and engage professional teaching artists and advocate nationally for arts engagement for older adults.